FAQ

FAQ: Frequently Ask Questions

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Do I have to ship breast milk overnight?

Breast milk can be shipped between 1-3 days depending on the quantity of breast milk, how it's packaged, and the time of year it's being shipped

Dry ice and shipping days guide recommendation for frozen breast milk - in properly insulated cooler:
* up to 100oz: In person pick up only
* 100 - 320oz: overnight (*USPS) with 5lbs dry ice .
* 320oz - 550oz: 1-2 day shipping, 5 - 8lbs of dry ice depending on how hot the weather - be especially careful with ground shipping. ** Can use 0 - 5lbs for 1-2 days shipping, but not recommended in the event of a shipping delay.
* 550oz up: 1-3 day shipping, **5lbs - 8lbs dry ice depending on how hot the weather - be especially careful with ground shipping. ** Can use 0 - 5lbs for 1-2 days shipping, but not recommended in the event of a shipping delay.

I personally believe if I think I should use a couple more pounds of dry ice, then I'd rather do that then risk breast milk thawing or spoiling. 

Do not force the package to fit dry ice and breast milk tightly. Doing so will put the cooler at risk of cracking and spoiling the breast milk. Please watch my 'how-to videos' for proper packing of cooler.

Learn more here: https://www.happybellieshappybabies.com/using-dry-ice/

How much breast milk should I buy/does baby eat?

The best way to calculate how much breast milk your baby will need is to figure out how much breast milk your baby consumes a day and how many days of breast milk you will want before you wish to order more or you no longer need to order more (which ever comes first). I always recommend to buy at least 5 days extra in case your baby consumes more than expected and to account for shipping time for another shipment to arrive. I am a firm believer in, "It's better to have more than not enough." Except in recipes... haha.. then I switch to, "You can always add, but can't take away." lol We have all been there when... opps... there went in too much salt and then the meal is fit for a sea creature.. haha ok, So, yes.. my usual audience is that of little children..excuse my attempts in humor ? .. 

You can use my resource printable chart to help determine how much breast milk a day your baby consumes. Remember, the chart is based on approximation and not exact for each child. It can, however, be a good guide to make a good guesstimate or idea.

>> Print Chart <<

How much breast milk should I leave with a babysitter?

That's a good question. 
My philosophy is it's always better to be over prepared than under prepared. 
The great thing about breast milk is how long it can last when properly frozen. I will attach a couple charts you can use and also share with your babysitter for references on how much breast milk baby needs, proper storage and use of breast milk. Hope that helps too.

The chart for how much baby needs is just a guideline. That means that different babies can have different needs. So, it's best to determine your baby's need by calculating how many feedings he has by how much milk his intake is in a 24 hour period. If he's fully breastfed and you aren't sure how much he consumes per feeding.. then you can just go by the chart for now and your baby sitter can let you know how many oz he consumes per day he's there. So to get started have approx 1 weeks/7 days of breast milk available and bring in more breast milk (but only the amount of days you work per week worth after ) once a week to make things easier. This way there is the 2 or more days extra in case he needs more than a days worth a couple days or any emergencies occur and your baby has to be there longer. Just have your babysitter let you know if she goes over and uses any of the extras so you can resupply accordingly.

I recommend having the breast milk bags in a plastic freeze-safe storage container with an attached lid that she can keep the breast milk bags in to prevent any cross contamination in the freezer, accidentally misplacement of any bags, or accidentally used for a different baby and label your container. Have the babysitter put new bags you bring in under the older bags so older ones are used first to keep it cycling forward.

It’s also important to know a breastfed baby will consume more breast milk from a bottle than from the breast. The reason is that they are used to the breast having letdowns and slowdowns.. where a bottle does not do that and has a constant flow. A baby will end up over eating due to that reason, so if you can it’s best to try to get the slow flow nipples for breastfed babies meant to help reduce that problem and give baby a more accurate feeding.

Review the charts and let me know if there is anything else I can help with or if you have further questions. I am happy to help.

Here are printable links:
HBHB-Human-Milk-Storage-Chart-1-1.pdf

HBHBBreastmilkamountchart1.pdf

You are also welcome to visit the site for more information on pumping and breast milk. 
pumping-handling-bagging-breast-milk/

How much dry ice should I use?

Dry ice and shipping days guide recommendation for frozen breast milk -in properly insulated cooler:
* up to 100oz: In person pick up only
* 100 - 320oz: overnight (*USPS) with 5lbs dry ice.
* 320oz - 550oz: 1-2 day shipping, 5 - 8lbs of dry ice depending on how hot the weather - be especially careful with ground shipping
* 550oz up: 1-3 day shipping, **5lbs - 8lbs dry ice depending on how hot the weather - be especially careful with ground shipping. ** Can use 0 - 5lbs for 1-2 days shipping, but not recommended in the event of a shipping delay.

I personally believe if I think I should use a couple more pounds of dry ice, then I'd rather do that then risk breast milk thawing or spoiling. 

Do not force the package to fit dry ice and breast milk tightly. Doing so will put the cooler at risk of cracking and spoiling the breast milk. Please watch my 'how-to videos' for proper packing of cooler.

Learn more here: https://www.happybellieshappybabies.com/using-dry-ice/

What if a recipient says they don't feel comfortable paying for breast milk and/or shipping before I ship it, what should I do?

 Educate them. Never, ever hand over or ship breast milk prior to receiving verified and cleared funds. You should only accept Cash or PayPal or if buyer has a shipping account with FED ex, USPS, or UPS and they can pay for shipping using their account number. Cash would be for in-person transactions. PayPal would be for in-person or shipping. View our PayPal page for more information.

Cash: They can verify the breast milk when you meet up. Make sure to follow safety guidelines when meeting in person.
PayPal: You would let the recipient know that PayPal comes with buyer/seller protection that covers both buyers/sellers for all transactions. They can read more about it in the PayPal provided link. That means their purchase would be covered and they aren't risking their money if your shipment is not as promised or delivered.
FED Ex, USPS, UPS Shipping Account: Seller must give you their shipping account number or give the shipping account number to the shipper at time of shipment. Do not ship prior to the account being confirmed and the package shipment charged to their account. Do not accept any other couriers shipping account as that would be a scam. 

What if the recipient doesn't have a PayPal account?

If they don't have PayPal, let them know that's ok. They just pay as a guest payment in the link you sent them using any accepted form of payment like debit or credit cards.

View our PayPal page for more information

What do I do if breast milk arrived partially thawed?

Good question and I found a wonderful answer that can cover that question in addition can help in the event a power outage may happen at your home and you want to know how to protect and save the precious breast milk.

 Smith, Anne IBCLC Ask Anne…Can I save my frozen breast milk during a power outage? Retrieved from https://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/qa/can-save-freezer-stash-breastmilk-power-outage

Here’s some information that may help you salvage some of your “liquid gold”.

Above all, stay safe.

Question: Help! We had a big storm here and the power went off. I’m afraid that I might lose my freezer stash of breast milk. I’m going back to work next week, and it took me months of pumping to store up all that milk. Is there anything I can do save my frozen breast milk during a power outage?

Answer: Try not to panic. Unless the power is out for extended periods of time and the milk is thawed out for more than a couple of days, chances are that you can save it.

Here are some guidelines about how to save your milk during power outages:

  •  If you know ahead of time that your power may go out, freeze plastic bags full of water and use them to fill the empty spaces in the freezer. Put the frozen milk toward the center of the freezer instead of against the walls. A full freezer holds its temperature longer than one that is partially empty.
  •  If you have access to a generator, use it to keep the food in your freezer frozen.
  •  If one of your neighbors still has power, see if they will let you store your milk in their freezer until your power comes back on.
  • If you do lose power, try to keep the milk from thawing . Fill empty spaces in your freezer or cooler with dry ice, “blue ice,” bags  of ice, or snow.  Covering the cooler with towels or blankets will help keep it insulated.
  • Put separate bags of breast milk into larger bags or plastic container to keep them from leaking in case they start to defrost.
  • Open the freezer door as little as possible. According to the USDA, “a full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.”
  • If there is still  a lot of snow on the ground, you can store the milk in a snow bankout of the sun, until the power comes back on, then return it to the freezer as soon as possible. You can also pack the freezer or cooler with snow to keep the milk frozen.
  • As long as the breast milk is still slushy or has ice crystals in it, then it isn’t considered defrosted, and it can be refrozen, even if more than 48 hours has gone by.  Milk that is partially thawed and then refrozen is safe to eat. It may lose some of its live immune factors, but is still better for your baby than formula, which doesn’t have any antibodies and live cells to begin with.
  •  A 2006 study looked at the effects of refreezing previously frozen milk. Researchers took frozen breast milk and thawed it, refroze it, refrigerated it and left it out at room temperature. They concluded that “Breast milk is fairly robust and does not grow bacteria easily nor lose vitamins A and C or free fatty acids  to any degree that would harm a full term baby.” They also found that the vitamin content was adequate for all the samples of refrozen milk, and none of the samples shad unsafe levels of bacteria.
  • Based on this research, your milk should be safe to use even if the milk has completely thawed, and there are no ice crystals left. If your aren’t sure about whether the milk has ‘spoiled’, see how it smells. If it’s spoiled, it will smell bad, just like  cow’s milk that has been left out too long.  Sometimes milk that has been frozen and thawed may have a ‘soapy’ smell, due to its fat content, but this isn’t the same as a spoiled milk smell, and doesn’t mean the milk is unsafe. You might want to leave as much thawed milk out as you think you can use within 24 hours or so, then refreeze the rest.
  •  These guidelines apply to healthy full term babies. If you have a preemie or a sick baby with an immune disorder, consult your doctor. He may recommend that the thawed breastmilk be used within 24 hours and not refrozen.

Anne Smith, IBCLC
Breastfeeding Basics

  • Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington
  • US Centers for Disease Control
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • HMBANA’s best practice, 2005.
  • David J. Rechtman, MD, Martin L. Lee and H. Berg, Effect of environmental conditions on unpasteurized donor human milk. Breastfeed Med 2006: 1(1):24-26. doi:10.1089/bfm.2006.1.24.

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How do I calculate shipping weight?
Check out or instructional video by visiting our How-To Page.

  1. Calculate ounces of breast milk: Count how many ounces of breast milk you have per bag. Multiple the amount of breast milk per bag by the amount of bags of breast milk you have. For example 4oz per bag x 300 bags of breast milk = 1200oz of breast milk.
  2. Calculate pounds of breast milk: Divide the amount of ounces of breast milk you have by how many ounces there are in a pound. 16oz is how many ounces there are in a pound. For example: Divide 1200oz of breast milk by 16oz. That equals 75lbs of breast milk. *If your weight ends up being a percent of a pound more such as 75.25 pounds then round up to the next number. This example would be 78 pounds.
  3. Get your shipping cooler weight: Your large and X-large shipping box weighs approximately 5lbs. Smaller shipping coolers likely weight approximately 3 pounds. Hard coolers will weigh more. Check with manufacture or online product description.
  4. Get your approximate dry ice (or ice pack) weight: Check to see how much dry ice you will need using our helpful guide. Then use that amount as your dry ice weight. I am going to use 5lbs for this example.
  5. Get your filler/ziplock bags/etc.. approximate weight: I always use 5 pounds as my typical guesstimation and it seems to work out great each time. You are welcome to weigh your filler and make your own guesstimate but make sure to adjust for any ziplock bags/storage containers and also any extra breast milk that you may not have calculated in step 1 due to some breast milk bags may have .15 or more extra ounces in each bag when filling and trying to fill to or above the correct measurement line.
  6. Calculate your numbers together: Exclude the ounces of weight and use the pounds for this step.
    75 lbs breast milk
    5 lbs shipping cooler
    5 lbs dry ice
    +5 lbs filler etc.. 
    -----
    90 lbs total est. weight
  7. Add a pound for good measure: I can't explain it but this seems to be very helpful when getting shipping weight estimates. I get pretty darn close to actual shipping costs, sometimes by just a few dollars with air shipping and air shipping is very necessary to get the closest estimate as the shipping costs can greatly vary. Ground shipping is not that big of a deal being a few pounds off when getting shipping estimates.
    90 lbs total est weight
    +  1 lbs for good measure
    ----
    91lbs final total est. weight
  8. All done! Now you have your shipping weight estimate! You're welcome.. I disliked struggling not knowing how to figure that out. I share my knowledge with all of you, so you don't have to stress like I did! YAY
Does the site provide any helpful breast milk tips printables?
Yes! Feel free to view them. They're free to print and use for personal use.
* How much breast milk should I Pump/Does baby eat? Print Chart
* HBHB Human Milk Storage Chart - This also comes with helpful information on thawing, mixing, and using breast milk.
What if I can't find the answer to my question in the site or here in the FAQ?
Feel free to contact us using our contact link above or join or Facebook community group for additional support.
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